“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests!” So declared the angels upon the birth of Christ (Luke 2:14).
Clearly, God wants us to be at peace and to be a peaceful people as we place our faith and trust in Him. Yet, 2000 years after the birth of Jesus, peace seems as elusive as ever. 30 years after Christ died the Romans demolished Jerusalem. Then Barbarian hordes demolished Rome. Then Europeans battled among each other, as tribes and city-states became nations, and Norse and Franks and Celts and Spaniards killed each other with ferocity. Then the new world was discovered, and the Spaniards killed South American Indians while the British killed North American Indians and the French destroyed Europe until the Russians beat the French. And the Germans tried to take over the world - twice. And the Japanese bombed their benefactors. And the Dutch enslaved South Africa. And U boats sank cruisers, and the A-Bomb destroyed Hiroshima, and the Communists murdered millions of Jews and Christians. Now we have enough nuclear weapons stockpiled to destroy the earth a many times over, and the communists starve, Israelis and Palestinians kill each other, the Baltics remain ballistic, 5000 Americans lie incinerated in the ruins of the World Trade Center, and the middle eastern spring rages while North Korean nucs are test-fired yet again.
In the midst of this, the tide turns toward peace and the people of peace intentionally radiate the kindness of God. Christians know that God has instituted the ‘sword’ to ensure peace and order (Rom.13:4) in a broken world. The hope of Christ is to restore that which was broken, to replace hearts of stone with hearts of flesh, to replace greed with charity and lust with love. Someday, swords will no longer be needed. The process of saving humanity from itself is slow. Restoration is slow and difficult work.